IDEX 2015

Gulf nations build up air defence umbrellas [IDX15D4]

26 February 2015

Formerly known as the Theatre High-Altitude Area Defense system, the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence system (THAAD) is an antiballistic missile system designed to shoot down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase using a hit-to- kill approach.

The missile itself carries no warhead, relying instead on kinetic energy to destroy its target, making it a safer way of destroying weapons of mass destruction.

The United Arab Emirates was the first country to order and to deploy THAAD outside the USA, placing a US$1.13 billion order for 48 THAAD missiles, parts and logistical support in 2012.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced in November 2012 that Qatar had requested the sale of both PAC-3 and THAAD missiles, although a contract for THAAD has yet to emerge.

Michael Trotsky, vice president of air and missile defence systems at Lockheed Martin (Stands 01-C10, CP-3, CS-3), said Qatar was in the process of deciding and defining the design and architecture of its system – how many batteries would be required, where they would be situated, and in what configuration.

He said he expected a letter of acceptance within 12 to 18 months’ time. Trotsky also noted that Saudi Arabia was in a similar position to Qatar on THAAD, and that a Saudi decision could come in the next 12 to 24 months.

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